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In Kyrgyzstan, nearly 14 percent of women under 24 married "through some form of coercion," the UN says.

BISHKEK -- United Nations agencies in Kyrgyzstan have expressed concern over the brutal killing of a 20-year-old woman by her abductor, and urged the Central Asian country to take "all appropriate measures" to stop illegal practices such as bride kidnapping as well as child and forced marriage.

The UN office in Kyrgyzstan said in a May 31 statement that such practices "do not belong to the culture and tradition of Kyrgyzstan but are a violation of the rights of vulnerable people."

"Child and/or forced marriage is a fundamental violation of human rights with far-reaching consequences not only to the individuals directly involved but to the well-being of the entire society," the statement added.

Kyrgyz prosecutors say they have opened a criminal investigation into the stabbing death of the young woman, hours after she was abducted by a man near Bishkek.

The May 27 killing of Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, a graduate of a medical school in the Kyrgyz capital, occurred at a police precinct where she and her abductor had been taken after being detained by police.

Her father told RFE/RL that the attacker allegedly carved her initials and that of her fiance, who she had originally planned to marry, into the woman's body.

The 29-year-old suspected attacker, who has not been identified, was hospitalized after stabbing himself, officials said.

Bride kidnapping, which occurs in Kyrgyzstan and some parts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, has been illegal for years in Kyrgyzstan but prosecutions have been rare.

In 2012, Kyrgyz lawmakers strengthened the punishment, raising the maximum prison term from three to 10 years.

Despite "significant steps" to strengthen Kyrgyzstan's laws, "more work needs to be done in the prevention and prosecution of perpetrators as well as ensuring the protection of victims," the UN office said.

The latest available data in Kyrgyzstan shows that nearly 14 percent of women aged under 24 married "through some forms of coercion," according to the UN statement.

Telegram co-founder and CEO Pavel Durov (file photo)

Telegram CEO and founder Pavel Durov says Apple has prevented the popular messaging service from updating globally since Russian authorities "ordered" the U.S. mobile-phone giant to remove Telegram from its app store.

Durov made the announcement on his official Telegram Channel on May 31, days after Russia's communications regulator said it had asked Apple to help it block Telegram in the country.

"Unfortunately, Apple didn’t side with us," Durov added, referring to Telegram's refusal to provide access to its encrypted communications to Russia's security agencies.

'Problematic Issue'

Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications regulator, said on May 28 that it had sent a letter to Apple asking that it to no longer make the free Telegram app available for download in Russia.

It said the U.S. firm was also asked to block push notifications for Telegram users in Russia, ensuring that Apple phone and tablet users do not receive alerts about new messages and rendering the application less useful.

Roskomnadzor said in its letter that Apple officials should "inform us as soon as possible about your company's further actions to resolve the problematic issue" with Telegram or face a "possible action by the agency."

A Moscow court last month banned Telegram following a long-running battle with authorities over its refusal to provide decryption keys for all its users’ communications.

'Troubled Country'

The ban has provoked repeated protests in Russia by thousands who use and support the popular messaging service.

Russian officials have claimed the ban against Telegram is justified because the service has been used in the planning of terror attacks around the world.

Durov on May 31 vowed to preserve "the right of our users to privacy in a troubled country.”

Telegram lets people exchange messages, stickers, photos, and videos in groups of up to 5,000 people. It has attracted more than 200 million users since its launch by Durov and his brother Nikolai in 2013.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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